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A Bottle of Water for Killing an IS Fighter?

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
May 24 · Issue #39 · View online

MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq.

Key developments
  • A newly opened road connecting Kurdish-held areas in the northeast and Aleppo city illustrates the extent of cooperation between the PYD/YPG and the Assad regime. How exactly is Öcalan’s democratic confederalism compatible with Assad’s governmental style?
  • For the first time, US airstrikes targeted pro-regime forces in support of rebels. The US attacked a convoy of Hezbollah and allegedly even Iranian troops that was heading towards the town of al Tanf. Al Tanf is also a border point between Syria and Iraq and within the last months, Free Syrian Army units have cleared the Islamic State from much of the eastern deserts. Two important points: 1. This step does not mark a significant shift in Washington’s policy. Frankly speaking, a coherent policy is still missing at all. The convoy was getting closer and Washington had to react, especially because US special forces are supporting the FSA on the ground. 2. Pro-regime forces renewed their attempt to capture territory west of al Tanf. Fighting is ongoing. Reports indicate that Russian military personal accompanies the pro-regime militias. Russians could already wave to Americans in Manbij, but this time they are on opposing sites.
  • After years of siege, the last group of about 20.000 rebels/residents has left the al-Wae’r district in Homs. Most of them will end up in Idlib or opposition-held territory in northern Syria near Jarabulus.
  • Discussions in Geneva have ended without any results.
  • A car bomb killed at least 4 people in the Zahraa district of Homs. IS claimed responsibility for the attack. Once again the Islamic State demonstrates its capabilities to conduct attacks far from its territory.
  • Pro-regime forces are advancing in Aleppo and Homs, pushing IS forces back.
  • Despite the idea of a de-escalation zone, fighting escalated in Daraa. Reports indicate that the Russian air force is also involved.
Articles worth reading
How I escaped one of Syria's deadliest fronts
In Tartous, Syria, Women Wear Black, Youth Are in Hiding, and Bitterness Grows
Who supplies the news? Misreporting in Syria and Iraq
Al-Qaeda’s Turning Against its Syrian Affiliate
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